Have you heard of Davos? I had, vaguely. I thought it was a group of rich and powerful people who got together once a year to chat and network and invite some of the more interesting members of the lower orders – ex-prime ministers and presidents, Swedish schoolgirls – to come and entertain them with their thoughts. What could be more normal? Renaissance princes did the same. Machiavelli was an entertaining conversationalist by all accounts, and Leonardo da Vinci was a fiend for inventing riddles, as well as playing a mean lute. Ricky Gervais would have had a hard time competing.
I’d never looked further than that, because of a vague feeling that it was a bit – sticky – as a subject. Just as uttering the words “international finance” can get you labelled as an anti-semite, so uttering the word “Davos” can get you labelled as a conspiracy theorist. Now I’ve come out, and I don’t care, so I went on the Davos site to find out what they’re up to.
“The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation” they say.
The organisation, note, not just an organisation. If you’re going to divide the planet up into two parts, private and public, and claim to be the organisation that links the two, you’re obviously carving out quite a position for yourself.
The headlines on their front page today, 17 July 2020 are:
– It’s time for a great reset of Africa’s e-health systems. Here’s how
– To reinvent the future, we must all work together
– A blueprint for business to transition to a nature-positive future
– COVID-19’s legacy: This is how to get the Great Reset right
It’s time for… Here’s how… We must… A blueprint to transition… This is how…
The tone is pure “the Conversation,” except that the authors are not, or are no longer, post doctoral students, eager to make their voice heard in the hubbub of academia. They’ve made it (mostly) as founders, heads, chairmen, directors of this or that (plus an advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – the only author who indicates the remotest indication of something that might resemble a link, however weak, with democratic politics.) This is top people telling the rest of us what we must do. And how.
Scrolling down, one comes to “In the News:”with links to two articles from the Guardian, and one from CNBC, all about the coronavirus:
Then “Racism and racial injustice,”with nine articles:
– 5 ways racism is bad for business – and what we can do about it
– The legacy of ‘redlining’. How earlier urban zoning reinforces racial segregation
– We ignore the power of symbols at our peril’ – architect David Adjaye on why racist monuments must be replaced
Then comes Popular Videos:
– This 13-year-old has a powerful message about social activism
–Building a truly green economy is one of the most important challenges for the world after coronavirus
– Now is the time to press the reset button on capitalism
Then comes Coronavirus, with nine articles, and Pride Month 2020 with nine articles about LGBTIQ, or sometimes just LGBTQ, or even LGBT+. (What’s been added, and what’s being left out, I wonder, from what used to be a simple Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich?)
And then “Global Agenda” with nine articles, all about Covid 19, including:
– 6 ways businesses can turn COVID-19 uncertainty to their advantage
(What? Only Six?)
And finally, “More on Climate Change” with just six articles, all posted in the last five days.
And that’s it for the front page. It’s evident from the above that the World Economic Forum is a highly efficient far left organisation focussed on the subjects of pandemic mitigation, race, sex and climate change, and devoted to promoting radical change in the way the world treats these problems.
They have a page titled “Our Mission” which says:
The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does. Our activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.
Er, that’s it.
I don’t want to harp, but it’s a bit thin as a political programme. Which doesn’t matter of course, because the WEF is not standing for election. They’re merely telling those who are standing for election what to do, and how. And how.
There’s a lot more, of course. Under Why does our work matter? You can read:
Our world is an interconnected system straining under the burden of its own complexity.
Under What makes us unique? there’s:
Deeply anchored in the public and private sectors, the Forum is the only global organization serving this role, bringing together the world’s foremost CEOs, heads of state, ministers and policy-makers, experts and academics, international organizations, youth, technology innovators and representatives of civil society in an impartial space with the aim of driving positive change. The Forum is unique in this regard because we are Impartial. We have no ideological or commercial interests.
And there’s a list of trustees, all of them important. You may have heard of Mark Carney, Kristalina Giorgieva, Al Gore, Christine Lagarde, Jack Ma, or H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Many of them are utterly decent people you’d be happy to stand a pint for with at your local.
The only thing they all have in common is that they are all filthy stinking rich, and the only far left subject not treated on their admirably wide-ranging site is the question of wealth distribution. Because that’s what being impartial, and not having any “ideological or commercial interests” means, doesn’t it?
These intelligent, civilised people support the programmes dear to the hearts of all liberals and lefties from Joe Biden to the mad Savanarolas at Extinction Rebellion, but they have no ideological or commercial interests of their own. Ideology? Commerce? Al Gore is not interested. And nor is H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (who, by the way, seems to be a thoroughly good egg.)
There’s so much more on their site. I can’t even find now the bit where they list their overseers, or mentors or academic guarantors or whatever they call them, which include MIT, Harvard and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. And why shouldn’t the world’s greatest centres of learning lend their prestige to a bunch of filthy rich squillionaires busy licking the toejam of Black Lives Matter? Isn’t that what they’ve always done? Henry VIII, or the self-proclaimed leader of the Seattle squat, what’s the difference?
Vice Chancellor: Fing is, we’re against racism, right?
Assembled Professors: Right.
Vice Chancellor: And we’re against climate change, right?
Assembled Professors: Right.
Vice Chancellor: OK then. So we’re for Al Gore and Mark Carney and the rest of the Davos crowd, right? So translate that into Latin please, and I’ll sign it, and there’s an invite for me to Davos next year – free skiing and a chance to mingle with the nobs.
There’s something terminally weird about the Davos crowd cozying up to Black Lives Matter or Extinction Rebellion – like the Emperor Caligula making his horse a senator. This was a sign that all was not well with the Roman Empire, which nonetheless survived for another four centuries.
May our civilisation do as well. Al Gore is no Caligula, after all. He’s about a million times richer, for a start.
[PS: On the subject of George Floyd, the black man apparently murdered by a white police officer, I’ve read that they knew each other, since they both worked as security guards at the same night club. Like you, I’ve read quite a few articles on the subject, But I haven’t seen one which raised the question of why a policeman would need to supplement his income with a second job.]